Silent Service - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Silent Service

Silent Service

By Chris Beveridge     January 09, 2001
Release Date: January 09, 2001


Silent Service
© Central Park Media


What They Say
“A taut military thriller loaded with sea battles and political skullduggery… Still, viewed as a simple action film Silent Service is great fun.”
Codename: Sea Bat. The most dangerous submarine ever created. Explosively nuclear and manned by a crew that is officially dead, the Sea Bat is the most closely guarded military secret in the world. And it has just gone rogue. One by one, the world’s most powerful combat vessels are devastated by this silent, deadly enemy. The clock is ticking as top military leaders scramble to annihilate the renegade ship, and international peace is blown straight to hell!

The Review!
Over the years, I've come to really appreciate what goes into military style thrillers. When it comes to submarine based ones, there's precious few of them and even fewer that are any good. Das Boot is usually the best one touted, though some older ones are equally good for suspense and thrills. Silent Service isn't exactly in the same class as its goals are much different, but for submarine flick fans, this is a must-have.

Audio:
For our primary review session, we listened to the Japanese language track. Originally produced back in 1995, the stereo track used for this movie is pretty decent, but nothing on par with typical Hollywood submarine movies. The usual sounds are abound in the sub as one would expect, but the range and distinctiveness for it isn't as pronounced as some people may hope. The show is indeed more focused on the dialogue and story as opposed to making a spot on feeling of being in a submarine.

Video:
For the most part, this is a solid looking transfer. The show is filled with a variety of blacks, blues and various grays that make up submarine life and the life under the ocean. Colors are solid throughout with only a few instances of minor breakup along some of the interior submarine corridors. Line noise was very minimal throughout and only a couple of minor instances of rainbows.

Packaging:
The grading for this is instantly lowered based on the fact that there's information on the reverse side of the cover insert and we're given a black keepcase instead of a clear one. Make the effort, spend a couple of extra pennies and get actual inserts made like every other company and abandon the clear keepcase entirely. Otherwise it's a fairly decent looking package with a good summary and listing of the features.

Menus:
Nothing too surprising here with the menus. The main one has a decent looking image with the usual selections. Access times between menus are pretty fast and everything is laid out in a pretty logical way.

Extras:
The only video side included extra is a meet the cast section which lists both the Japanese and English voice actors and a brief summary about them. We did not look through the DVD-ROM extras, though they are available for both MAC and PC users who have such drives.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Silent Service is a very good submarine political thriller. The movie begins with an incident where the Yamanami, a Japanese class submarine, collides and implodes with a Russian submarine. The crew is lost and tensions begin to raise.

It's soon discovered that the Yamanami's captain, who is a close friend to Captain Fukamachi, who was on the edge of sonar range when the accident occurred and managed to acquire some rather interesting information about the disaster. Apparently ten minutes before the crash and subsequent implosion, a hatch was heard being closed, giving indication that the crew escaped earlier and set it to scuttle but ended up hitting the Russian sub along the way.

Fukamachi takes this information for more detailed analysis at one of the SDF bases, but is stopped by his superior who grounds the entire crew. He's then told of the state secret that's going on in relation to the Yamanami captain, Kaieda. A joint US-Japan nuclear submarine was built that's being fitted into the 7th Fleet but will be crewed entirely by Japanese.... the same crew that was supposedly dead from the Yamanami accident. This doesn't sit well with Fukamachi, who believes he's the better choice for the job and has misgivings about anyone who would scuttle their own boat.

The new boat, the Sea Bat, is eventually launched with an entirely Japanese crew and one American captain along with Captain Kaieda. Things go fairly well during the initial launch into sea, at least until they near an area of their plotted course that will allow their ship to be imaged by a good portion of the US Pacific Fleet. Kaieda kicks his plans into motion by firing upon the US ships and having the US captain on board be under guard. The boat is then pulled off of its assigned course and the chase begins.

The show begins to take many twists and turns from here, with battles taking place in the sea with various submarines and aircraft carriers while a war or words erupts between the US and Japanese governments. The show is another in a series of stories told throughout the 80's and 90's that deal with Japan's place in the world and the apparent complacency of its population in being somewhat minimalized with having no real active military that can go overseas. This becomes the main storyline with Captain Kaieda taking various measures to bring this to the forefront of both the governments and the population.

Some scenes throughout are reminiscent of Hollywood movies but with different results. There's some Das Boot in there, some Hunt for Red October and a feeling of U-571. I really enjoyed this movie and how it played out, but it's a very serious and straightforward show that probably won't go over well with a lot of people. Very enjoyable.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Meet the Cast

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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